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My wife and I just purchased a 49-acre property near Union Valley, TX (east of Rockwall). The property has no house and we intend to build soon and live here with our 5 children.

The property has three ponds. The largest pond is approx. 3.0 surface acres, second one is approx 1.7 surface acres and the third is 1.5 surface acres. All are unknown depth for now, but the largest appears to be the deepest, second in the middle and the smaller pond appears to be less than 3' deep.

I won't get much more detailed here since this is just an intro thread, but I've got a million questions and lots of reading to do.

I've been fishing my whole life but have never managed ponds before and I know I've got my work cut out for me. I pulled a small boat out of the larger pond today and found a crawdad, small catfish fry and a green sunfish fry in the bottom of the boat. Excited about the crawdad and catfish, not so much about the GSF.

First things first, we've got a serious beaver problem to get under control....

Last edited by TX Chris; 12/19/22 03:17 AM.
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This is an aerial view of the property. Smaller pond is the green one top-right, it overflows into the mid-size pond top-middle, which overflows into the larger pond middle-left. All of the ponds were low in this photo - they're all currently 25-50 percent larger in surface area than in this aerial image.

[Linked Image]

Last edited by TX Chris; 12/19/22 03:31 AM.
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Congratulations and welcome to Pond Boss!!!

That's an awesome piece of land!

Are you pretty good at identifying catfish? I ask because there's a chance that the catfish fry you caught might be a bullhead.


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Welcome to the show


It's not about the fish. It's about the pond. Take care of the pond and the fish will be fine. PB subscriber since before it was in color.

Without a sense of urgency, Nothing ever gets done.

Boy, if I say "sic em", you'd better look for something to bite. Sam Shelley Rancher and Farmer Muleshoe Texas 1892-1985 RIP
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Welcome to the forum! I agree with Sunil. If you duck hunt, the shallow one would be great for that.


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Originally Posted by esshup
Welcome to the forum! I agree with Sunil. If you duck hunt, the shallow one would be great for that.

My son and I pulled up to the middle pond yesterday and roughly 2 dozen duck flew away. I've never been duck hunting. Quail and pheasant but never duck.

Last edited by TX Chris; 12/19/22 01:26 PM.
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Originally Posted by Sunil
Congratulations and welcome to Pond Boss!!!

That's an awesome piece of land!

Are you pretty good at identifying catfish? I ask because there's a chance that the catfish fry you caught might be a bullhead.

Thanks, Sunil! My dad took us catfishing a lot when we were kids but my adult life has been spent focused pretty much on LMB. I am definitely not an expert on ID'ing various species.

This is the 'catfish':

[Linked Image]

While we're at it, here's the Green Sunfish:

[Linked Image]

And here's the crawdad:

[Linked Image]

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The catfish in your picture is not a catfish and is correctly named a bullhead aka mudpout, horned pout, hornpout, mud cat, and mud pout. It is a black, brown or yellow bullhead. Many pond owners including me consider bullheads as a nuisance trash fish in a pond sport fishery. True catfish have forked tails.

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Well I'm learning just how much I don't know and I haven't even made it past the Introduction thread. SMDH

Next thing I know, someone is going to tell me that crawdad is an invasive lobster subspecies and it's going to chop off my toes if I enter the water.

Two of the dams are in rough shape from beaver damage and may require extensive work. There's a chance I'll end up draining all three ponds, reworking the dams, dredging and starting over on the fish population. The ponds are over 50 years old so Lord only knows what all has been thrown in them over the years.

I won't lie, a part of me would rather start over so I KNOW what's in each pond and I'm not trying to fix decades worth of issues, both physical and living.

Last edited by TX Chris; 12/19/22 05:25 PM.
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I got plenty of them critters if anyone wants some…… clueless how I got them but I do.coons like them

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On the bright side, you're starting to compile accurate information!!

What is the water source for any/all of the ponds? I recall reading that the 1st fed the 2nd, and the 2nd fed the third.

The availability of water to refill any of the ponds should help educate whether or not to fully drain some or all of them.


Excerpt from Robert Crais' "The Monkey's Raincoat:"
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While I'm no fan of bullheads, conventional wisdom says that a healthy population of LMB can help keep their numbers in check. Same is said about Green Sunfish.

So, don't just think you have to start from scratch just because those fish are present.


Excerpt from Robert Crais' "The Monkey's Raincoat:"
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Originally Posted by Sunil
On the bright side, you're starting to compile accurate information!!

What is the water source for any/all of the ponds? I recall reading that the 1st fed the 2nd, and the 2nd fed the third.

The availability of water to refill any of the ponds should help educate whether or not to fully drain some or all of them.

Just local runoff. No major creek flowing through or anything. Each pond was quite low when we bought the property but now, maybe 7 weeks later, two are overflowing their banks and the third is as full as it can get due to the breaches in the dam letting water through.

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Originally Posted by Sunil
While I'm no fan of bullheads, conventional wisdom says that a healthy population of LMB can help keep their numbers in check. Same is said about Green Sunfish.

So, don't just think you have to start from scratch just because those fish are present.

I do agree with not starting over just because of certain fish. If we do start over, it'll be due to the dams needing repair and my desire to deepen the ponds if possible.

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Originally Posted by TX Chris
Originally Posted by Sunil
While I'm no fan of bullheads, conventional wisdom says that a healthy population of LMB can help keep their numbers in check. Same is said about Green Sunfish.

So, don't just think you have to start from scratch just because those fish are present.

I do agree with not starting over just because of certain fish. If we do start over, it'll be due to the dams needing repair and my desire to deepen the ponds if possible.

Deeper ponds are better. More water and less chances of them going critically low when water sources dry up. That's why I made mine 22' deep when we renovated it. It's currently approximately 7' low.....


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Originally Posted by TX Chris
Originally Posted by Sunil
On the bright side, you're starting to compile accurate information!!

What is the water source for any/all of the ponds? I recall reading that the 1st fed the 2nd, and the 2nd fed the third.

The availability of water to refill any of the ponds should help educate whether or not to fully drain some or all of them.

Just local runoff. No major creek flowing through or anything. Each pond was quite low when we bought the property but now, maybe 7 weeks later, two are overflowing their banks and the third is as full as it can get due to the breaches in the dam letting water through.


That's great that you're at the capacity of the ponds considering the condition of the individual dams. However, many other Pond Bossers from Texas were lamenting about lack of water for quite some time leading up to the second half of 2022.

There are options to kill off existing fish without fully draining ponds. Perhaps there's a low water level that you could attain that would still allow you to rework the damns.


Excerpt from Robert Crais' "The Monkey's Raincoat:"
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Originally Posted by Sunil
Originally Posted by TX Chris
Originally Posted by Sunil
On the bright side, you're starting to compile accurate information!!

What is the water source for any/all of the ponds? I recall reading that the 1st fed the 2nd, and the 2nd fed the third.

The availability of water to refill any of the ponds should help educate whether or not to fully drain some or all of them.

Just local runoff. No major creek flowing through or anything. Each pond was quite low when we bought the property but now, maybe 7 weeks later, two are overflowing their banks and the third is as full as it can get due to the breaches in the dam letting water through.


That's great that you're at the capacity of the ponds considering the condition of the individual dams. However, many other Pond Bossers from Texas were lamenting about lack of water for quite some time leading up to the second half of 2022.

There are options to kill off existing fish without fully draining ponds. Perhaps there's a low water level that you could attain that would still allow you to rework the damns.

I need to determine the depth of each pond. My main concern is that the large pond is sufficiently deep and I would like the middle pond to be deep enough to be manageable for either a bait pond or game fish. The northernmost pond is the shallowest and I'm fine if it lives life as a livestock watering hole. Though the one downside to that function is that it drains into the other two ponds in overflow situations.

If I determine that either of the two lower ponds aren't very deep, I'll likely drain and rework them if it's not financially prohibitive.

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Sunil, some of us are still lamenting. We are in a serious drought.

Last edited by Dave Davidson1; 12/21/22 06:12 AM.

It's not about the fish. It's about the pond. Take care of the pond and the fish will be fine. PB subscriber since before it was in color.

Without a sense of urgency, Nothing ever gets done.

Boy, if I say "sic em", you'd better look for something to bite. Sam Shelley Rancher and Farmer Muleshoe Texas 1892-1985 RIP
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Yea, here in deep east Texas I just got 4 inches of rain with some good runoff but am still over 4 foot low!! has come up 14 inches though since the record low because of drought!


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Depth - make as deep as reasonably possible.

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TX Chris, welcome to the forum. I've run down 276 a thousand times between Emory and Rockwall, and never knew Union Valley was there. Black clay?

Chris' place is in the same weather pattern as us. After a year of drought, our siphon has been running nonstop for 2-3 weeks. The only weather issue we have, is when fronts move through directly from the west. The metroplex heat cap usually kills those fronts in the summer, and it skips right over towns just east of Dallas.


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Originally Posted by FireIsHot
TX Chris, welcome to the forum. I've run down 276 a thousand times between Emory and Rockwall, and never knew Union Valley was there. Black clay?

Chris' place is in the same weather pattern as us. After a year of drought, our siphon has been running nonstop for 2-3 weeks. The only weather issue we have, is when fronts move through directly from the west. The metroplex heat cap usually kills those fronts in the summer, and it skips right over towns just east of Dallas.

Thanks for the welcome. I grew up in Garland and Rowlett (for 45 years) and, like you, have driven 276 more times than I can count. Never even heard of Union Valley before we found this property. Union Valley is a whopping metropolis of 1.8 square miles. We have one flashing red light, a volunteer fire station and a city hall.

The soil here is sandy loam with black clay mixed in. When wet, it can be quite squishy (technical term) in places.

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TX Chris, Welcome to the forum. I am also from East Tx but a good way from you. My suggestion to you is if you have a small boat or know anyone that has one it wouldn't be hard to find out the depth of the ponds. Put a cheap depth finder on the trolling motor and you can tell the depth. I would suggest that you map your ponds on graph paper for future reference. There is also a backhoe that is called a long reach that can reach out and clean up or dig a hole for you.

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Originally Posted by smokey
TX Chris, Welcome to the forum. I am also from East Tx but a good way from you. My suggestion to you is if you have a small boat or know anyone that has one it wouldn't be hard to find out the depth of the ponds. Put a cheap depth finder on the trolling motor and you can tell the depth. I would suggest that you map your ponds on graph paper for future reference. There is also a backhoe that is called a long reach that can reach out and clean up or dig a hole for you.

The sellers left a small boat next to the big pond - it's maybe 10' but it floats. I'm going to take a paddle and a measuring reel with a weight soon so I can get some measurements in each pond.

I'm in the Civil industry and have a GPS field instrument so I'm planning to do a complete survey of the entire property to develop a contour map and tree survey that I'll be able to use for watershed studies and for placing the house we're planning to start in the next 12 months or less.

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I went through UnionValley about 6 months ago. Didn’t take long.


It's not about the fish. It's about the pond. Take care of the pond and the fish will be fine. PB subscriber since before it was in color.

Without a sense of urgency, Nothing ever gets done.

Boy, if I say "sic em", you'd better look for something to bite. Sam Shelley Rancher and Farmer Muleshoe Texas 1892-1985 RIP
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Originally Posted by Dave Davidson1
I went through UnionValley about 6 months ago. Didn’t take long.

Right. Blink and you miss it.

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Originally Posted by TX Chris
My wife and I just purchased a 49-acre property near Union Valley, TX (east of Rockwall).
Congrats on your new property. Welcome to Pond Boss. As I'm sure you already know, that many acres in Union Valley is going to be worth a fortune down the road as the urban sprawl continues. I wish we were in Union Valley. That would take about 30 mins off our drive each way. We pass right by there every weekend on 276. Southern Junction Steaks and Dancin, Matt's Tex Mex, and Sweetwater Grill are practically in your backyard.


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Originally Posted by Zep
Originally Posted by TX Chris
My wife and I just purchased a 49-acre property near Union Valley, TX (east of Rockwall).
Congrats on your new property. Welcome to Pond Boss. As I'm sure you already know, that many acres in Union Valley is going to be worth a fortune down the road as the urban sprawl continues. I wish we were in Union Valley. That would take about 30 mins off our drive each way. We pass right by there every weekend on 276. Southern Junction Steaks and Dancin, Matt's Tex Mex, and Sweetwater Grill are practically in your backyard.

Thanks. I spoke with one of the neighbors right after we bought the property. He said many of the people that live right around the property were concerned that a developer would buy the land and turn it into a neighborhood. He was very pleased to hear that a married couple with 5 children bought it with no intentions to do anything other than build a house and create our own little oasis. The area is perfect for us - close enough to DFW but far enough out and in an area that feels 'country'.

We've already been to Matt's and Sweetwater a few times (we currently live about 2 miles from the property right in the middle of Union Valley). At least it'll be a short drive when we move.

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Welcome to Pond Boss posting.
















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I met with a pond guy this past weekend. Two of the three dams are definitely in need of repair / rehab but neither are in any imminent danger of failing. We discussed options from the simplest repair (not actually simple) to the more extravagant combination of two ponds into a 7-8 acre lake. All, of course, depend how much $$$ my wife and I want to spend.

With our plans to start construction on our new house and shop ASAP, the ponds will take a back seat for the time being. After our house is built and we sell our current home, we'll tackle the ponds.

Last edited by TX Chris; 01/12/23 12:55 AM.
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Originally Posted by TX Chris
I met with a pond guy this past weekend. Two of the three dams are definitely in need of repair / rehab but neither are in any imminent danger of failing. We discussed options from the simplest repair to the more extravagant combination of two ponds into a 7-8 acre lake. All, of course, depend how much $$$ my wife and I want to spend.

With our plans to start construction on our new house and shop ASAP, the ponds will take a back seat for the time being. After our house is built and we sell our current home, we'll tackle the ponds.

That will give you plenty of time to think about what your goals are for the pond(s), to plan and get all the materials in place so they can be ready to go in as soon as the dirt work is done. Plan out the bottom contour, figure out where the fish cover will go, what species of fish, etc., etc. Plan ahead, do it once and do it right.


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The three ponds show up on USGS imagery from the late 50's or early 60's so they've been around for at least 60 years.

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Originally Posted by TX Chris
With our plans to start construction on our new house and shop ASAP, the ponds will take a back seat for the time being. After our house is built and we sell our current home, we'll tackle the ponds.

Chris...I am sure you have considered this, but shouldn't you get at least your long term pond plan down before you build a house? If you leave the ponds separate or end up combining them into one large pond wouldn't those decisions play a part in where you locate the house?


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Originally Posted by Zep
Originally Posted by TX Chris
With our plans to start construction on our new house and shop ASAP, the ponds will take a back seat for the time being. After our house is built and we sell our current home, we'll tackle the ponds.

Chris...I am sure you have considered this, but shouldn't you get at least your long term pond plan down before you build a house? If you leave the ponds separate or end up combining them into one large pond wouldn't those decisions play a part in where you locate the house?

Excellent point and the house location is still up for discussion.

If we combine two ponds into one lake. the lake will be positioned in the back 1/3 of the property. I'm not super keen on placing the house 1,200+ feet away from the street so the house is next to the lake. That's a lot of driveway and fencing (we'll be running cattle on the property) and the driveway would split the property in half.

This image shows what I'm currently thinking for the house location but this is still very much an ongoing discussion. I also showed a rough outline for the three existing ponds and a very loose idea of what a combined lake could look like. The pond on the right likely will not change, other than possibly making it deeper some day.

For a scale reference, the property is almost exactly 2,000 feet long in the east/west direction. The house in this image is located 450' feet from the street and 350-375 feet from either neighboring house.

[Linked Image]

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With running cattle on the property, you really, really should keep the cattle fenced out of the ponds since the smaller pond feeds those two other ponds. The cattle disrupt the banks (which isn't the biggest problem) but the biggest problem is the pee and poop that they will introduce to the ponds, as well as the sediment that they will stir up as they walk in the water. All those will transfer to the big pond and will make maintaining it very difficult.


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Originally Posted by esshup
With running cattle on the property, you really, really should keep the cattle fenced out of the ponds since the smaller pond feeds those two other ponds. The cattle disrupt the banks (which isn't the biggest problem) but the biggest problem is the pee and poop that they will introduce to the ponds, as well as the sediment that they will stir up as they walk in the water. All those will transfer to the big pond and will make maintaining it very difficult.

Understood and agreed. I've already discussed with my wife the need to fence off the two ponds on the west (or the combined lake if we go that route) and keep them separate from the cattle. The pond dams are all damaged to the point of needing significant repair - as a result of cattle traffic. The smaller pond on the top right has two overflows - one into the other two ponds and one into a low draw that runs due south of the pond. I plan to eliminate the west overflow so that pond cannot flow into the other two and will keep that pond for cattle watering. The other two will be the fisheries.

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Might look into alternative watering for the cattle that will keep nutrients from leaving your place.

https://www.agproud.com/articles/53396-frost-free-nose-pump-allows-cattle-to-pump-own-water

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Originally Posted by RAH
Might look into alternative watering for the cattle that will keep nutrients from leaving your place.

https://www.agproud.com/articles/53396-frost-free-nose-pump-allows-cattle-to-pump-own-water

That's clever! I've considered installing a well for cattle watering or other random use on the property but it depends how much it would cost. I have to be careful not to spend $50k setting up to raise cattle that are really more of a hobby than trying to generate income (and save $15k annually on property taxes).

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You can hook nose waterers up to your pond.

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Chris, I used to mess with cows to get an Ag Exemption. Then Tx added the wildlife exemption so I now look for the well being of the land and wildlife. No fences to keep up, no calving problems; just worry about the welfare of deer, rabbits, coons, turkeys, etc. No more deer feeders wrecked by cows and horses. Like livestock, I file an annual report and get the same tax breaks.

Without an exemption, the taxes are like a luxury tax.


It's not about the fish. It's about the pond. Take care of the pond and the fish will be fine. PB subscriber since before it was in color.

Without a sense of urgency, Nothing ever gets done.

Boy, if I say "sic em", you'd better look for something to bite. Sam Shelley Rancher and Farmer Muleshoe Texas 1892-1985 RIP
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Originally Posted by Dave Davidson1
Chris, I used to mess with cows to get an Ag Exemption. Then Tx added the wildlife exemption so I now look for the well being of the land and wildlife. No fences to keep up, no calving problems; just worry about the welfare of deer, rabbits, coons, turkeys, etc. No more deer feeders wrecked by cows and horses. Like livestock, I file an annual report and get the same tax breaks.

Without an exemption, the taxes are like a luxury tax.

That's good to know. Our realtor explained how he manages his ranch - much larger than ours - for tax exemptions without livestock as well. Fortunately our property is already fenced (there's an active cattle lease on the property now) so that part is taken care of. We always buy our beef from local sources or a close friend that raises beef cattle so we figure we'll give it a go for ourselves. But we're talking 8-10 head most likely.

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If your property is wooded and has a ag exemption you can switch to a timber exemption and have less headaches
And no paperwork

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We have a timber exemption too. We lease a pasture, and raise hay. We only need a check or two to confirm what we do.

Round bermuda bales are at or over $100 right now, and raising cows is pricey. Diesel's up, lime's up, fertilizer is really up, and of course there's army worm's that will wipe out a pasture in a few days if not immediately sprayed with a insecticide cocktail.

Last edited by FireIsHot; 01/16/23 04:54 PM.

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Originally Posted by FireIsHot
We have a timber exemption too. We lease a pasture, and raise hay. We only need a check or two to confirm what we do.

Round bermuda bales are at or over $100 right now, and raising cows is pricey. Diesel's up, lime's up, fertilizer is really up, and of course there's army worm's that will wipe out a pasture in a few days if not immediately sprayed with a insecticide cocktail.

I talked to a buddy in Oklahoma and their grass hay is now going for $200/round bale. .


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$200 wow


It's not about the fish. It's about the pond. Take care of the pond and the fish will be fine. PB subscriber since before it was in color.

Without a sense of urgency, Nothing ever gets done.

Boy, if I say "sic em", you'd better look for something to bite. Sam Shelley Rancher and Farmer Muleshoe Texas 1892-1985 RIP
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